In this article you will learn how to check shutter count on your Canon EOS 550D (also known as Canon EOS Rebel T2i in the Americas or Canon EOS Kiss X4 in Japan) using the Magic Lantern firmware hack.
Reading the shutter count using Magic Lantern’s Debug menu
What Is Shutter Count?
Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras have commonly two moving parts. The first is the main reflex mirror. This is the mirror, which allows you to look through the lens from the viewfinder and that swings up and out of the way when you take a photo. The second moving part is the mechanical shutter. The shutter is a very sensible part and is often prone to failure over the life of the camera. The shutter count is just a number that reflects the amount of shutter actuations. This number is stored somewhere in camera’s internal memory and our task in this article is to reveal this number. Canon, unfortunately, doesn’t provide an easy way to check the shutter count. That’s why we’ll use a hacked firmware known as Magic Lantern to find out the shutter count of the Canon EOS 550D camera.
Why Should You Care?
Would you buy a used car without checking how many kilometers or miles were on it? Probably not. It applies similarly to the DSLR cameras. DSLRs have an expected lifetime, which is generally counted in the amount of shutter actuations. The Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i camera has an expected lifetime of about 100.000 shutter actuations. Thus, when buying a used 550D/T2i it makes perfect sense to look for a camera that has the smallest shutter count. The less the better.
How to Read the Shutter Count
IMPORTANT! Be aware that you can brick you camera if something goes wrong! Do it on your own risk! Make sure that your camera battery is fully charged throughout the whole process.
To read the shutter count of Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i, Kiss X4) with Magic Lantern these steps should be followed:
- Make sure that the camera is running the firmware version 1.0.9, because this is the only firmware version that Magic Lantern currently supports. If your firmware version is different, then upgrade or downgrade the camera to the version 1.0.9 using the Canon’s original firmware file “550D Canon Firmware for Testers.zip” available at the Magic Lantern’s site.
- Prepare the SD memory card by formatting it inside of the camera.
- Copy Magic Lantern’s modified firmware files for the 550D/T2i to the root directory of the memory card.
- Flash the Magic Lantern firmware to the camera.
- Press the “trash bin” button on the camera to enter the Magic Lantern menu and go to the “Debug” section. There you will find the shutter count, which is a sum of two numbers. The first number is the amount of shutter actuations in the standard mode. The second number the the amount of shutter actuation in the live view mode.
- If you don’t want to keep the Magic Lantern on your camera, then go to the camera’s menu and initiate the firmware update again. Magic Lantern will pop up again and will count down 60 seconds. Afterwards, it will remove all the boot flags from the camera. Now you can format the memory card again to get rid of the Magic Lantern files from the card completely.
The following video will guide you through the whole process:
Let me know in the comments section below if this method worked for you. Also, feel free to share your camera’s current shutter count and if possible the condition of the shutter. This is especially interesting with heavily used cameras, where shutter counter is above 100,000 actuations.